After a group of interested citizens raised the $85,000 necessary to construct a giant bronze statue of Fonzie from the hit television series “Happy Days,” thousands turned out to see its unveiling on the Wells Street bridge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The actor who portrayed Fonzie, Henry Winkler, made an appearance alongside sculptor Gerald Sawyer. “I just want to say, this is truly beautiful,” said Winkler, according to a story reported by the Associated Press. “You can hear about it, you can talk about it, we had conversation through e-mail, but to see it in real life and that it exists, it’s just unbelievable, it really is.”
Several other stars from “Happy Days” attended the ceremony, including Anson Williams, Marion Ross, Tom Bosley, Erin Moran, Penny Marshall, and Cindy Williams. Garry Marshall, the show’s co-creator address the crowd. “This is a great honor for all of us of the cast,” he said. “But for me it’s a great honor … I made up a character but suddenly a man came named Henry Winkler and he made this character real. He made it real in your minds and in your living rooms and in your hearts … and he made Fonzie a person who not only you wanted to watch but you wanted to put on your lunch box, your pajamas, your shirts, your hats and everything.”
The sculpture that the group was celebrating is about life-size, standing five feet, six inches tall. The ceremony, though, went beyond the chunk of bronze on the bridge. Craig Culver of Culver’s presented a $10,000 check to the Boys & Girls Club for its literacy program in honor of the charity work that Winkler has done with children.
Know Before You Go
Located on the east side of the Milwaukee River Walk, just south of Wells Street.
- OnMilwaukee.com: "The Unveiling of the Bronze Fonz" (August 2008): http://www.onmilwaukee.com/buzz/articles/fonzpix.html
- 620WYMJ NewsRadio: "The Bronze Fonz" (May 2009): http://www.620wtmj.com/news/local/45321767.html
- Wikipedia: Fonzie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fonzie
- Yelp: Bronze Fonz: http://www.yelp.com/biz/bronze-fonz-milwaukee
- CBS: The Early Show: "'The Fonz' In Bronze!" (August 2008): http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/08/19/earlyshow/leisure/celebspot/main4361844.shtml